This is a review of the Basic Talk phone service that I wrote for a local group and thought I’d share it on my blog.
For those who don’t know, Basic Talk is a home telephone service that connects over the internet. You plug their device into your home router and then plug a cordless phone base into the device.
It works just like a regular phone line, its just that you aren’t going through the phone company.
The call quality has been excellent, no garbled audio or drop outs, nice crystal clear phone calls.
Basic Talk is a service from Vonage, a long time company that has provided this kind of service. The basic Talk service is designed for regular home type calls, not the amount of calls you might have if you were running a business from your house.
They consider the regular amount of calls as under 3000 minutes a month.
The monthly charge is $9.95 plus taxes. Our phone bill was $12.15. You get all of the regular phone features like call waiting, 3 way calling, voice mail and a feature that I’ve only seen with Vonage, is the ability to transfer a call to another number.
So for example, if I am home and someone calls for Ruthie while she is out somewhere, I can press the flash button on our phone, dial *90, get a dial tone and dial ruthie’s cell phone, I’ll hear a few short beeps and that caller is transferred to Ruthie’s cell phone.
One other feature is their network outage number. Since this all works over the internet, if your internet connection goes out, even for a short time, you won’t be getting your phone calls, they’ll just go to voice mail.
Basic Talk allows you to set a number that calls will automatically be forwarded to in case your internet service is out. You can set your cell phone number up for this service. So if the basic talk device is unable to connect over the internet and someone calls you, the call will just go to your cell phone and the caller doesn’t know anything different.
Its a service similar to Magic Jack, which we’ve had but in our experiences between the two, Basic Talk aka vonage, actually has real people to call when you need customer service and offers more features than magic jack does.
It is a year commitment of service that you are signing up for with basic talk but you do have 30 days to cancel and time to try it out.
With any service like this, since its over the internet, the quality of the calls depends on your internet speed. If you have the slowest speed package available from your internet service provider, you shouldn’t expect to get the highest quality calls.
Think of it like if you could pay for water service based on the amount of water pressure you get. If you are only getting a slow trickle of water, don’t expect to fill up the kids wading pool in 30 minutes.
With Basic Talk and other services you can use your existing phone number or get a new one. The process of signing up and selecting the phone number was very easy with a screen reader and I received the basic talk device two days later.
It comes with a network cable to connect the basic talk device to your router, wireless won’t do. It also comes with an AC adapter to connect the basic talk device to an electrical outlet. There is a standard phone jack on the basic talk device to connect your home telephone. Most people who use this type of a service will use it with a multi-handset cordless phone base.